Intercession is one of the most unselfish things that Christians do. No one knows, and no recognition is being given. Of all Christian disciplines it is, perhaps the most Christlike.” --Don Jacobsen 

Jesus will add His intercession to your prayers, and claim for the sinner the gift of the Holy Spirit, and pour it upon his soul. And there will be joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” --Ellen White, Sons & Daughters of God, pg. 274 


Why Intercede?

Much of prayer ministry is intercessory praying—praying for others. “No one prays aright, who prays for himself alone,” someone has said. We often have so many needs and burdens of our own that we forget to pray for others, or we may pray for them too little.

God has called us to stand in the gap between others and divine judgment. “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it” (Ezekiel 22:30). May He find among us some who will stand in the gap for our church, for this generation, for this city, for this nation, for our world, by our intercessory prayers. Woe is pronounced upon us if we fail to do this (Ezekiel 13:3-5).

Selfish praying backfires and leaves us with our own prayers for ourselves unanswered. “Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons” (James 4:3, CEV). Jesus is our intercessor right now, at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 7:25), but while on earth, He was also constantly interceding for others. In His last recorded prayer (John 17), He spent most of His time praying for others. When Peter was facing the test of his life, Jesus assured him that while Satan was attacking him, his Savior was praying for him (Luke 22:31, 32).

Moses, the man of God, was an unparalleled intercessor. He prayed even for those who opposed him (Exodus 32:30-32; Numbers 12:1-13; Numbers 14:1, 20). The apostle Paul not only sought intercession from the brethren on his own behalf (2 Corinthians 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 13:18) but often reminded them of his intercession on their behalf (Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Philippians 1:4). Paul tells us clearly that we have an obligation to intercede for all men (1 Timothy 2:1).

Jesus commands His followers to pray even for those who do us wrong (Luke 6:28). He left us His own example to follow (Luke 23:34). Stephen, the first Christian martyr, emulated the Master (Acts 7:59, 60). The point is, no one is exempt from needing our intercessory prayers. We will be blessed if we spend time sincerely praying for others.

Lord, help me live from day to day In such a self-forgetful way,
That even when I kneel to pray, My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes others, Let this my motto be;
Help me to live for others, That I may live like Thee. —Charles D. Meigs

How to Pray for Others

Praying for others is one of the best gifts that we can give them. Make a list of persons near and far, friend and foe, for whom you can intercede. Be sure to include persons who are not yet your friends. Remember to intercede for your fellow church members, the youth, the sick, the world church, missionaries, church leaders, earth’s trouble spots, your neighborhood, your nation, and world people groups. The list is endless. Now you see why notable Christians spend so much time in prayer. One of the great joys we have experienced over the years has been meeting people who shared with us the fact that they regularly prayed for us. 

Here are three suggestions to help you pray effectively for others:

1. Ask God for specific things for the people for whom you are praying. Remember or jot down various needs people mention to you. Use requests from missionary prayer letters. Pray that God will give them spiritual strength, courage, physical stamina, mental alertness, and so on. Imagine yourself in the situations these people are in and pray accordingly.

2. Look up some of the prayers that are in Scripture. Pray for other people what Paul prayed for in the first chapter of Philippians and Colossians and in the first and third chapter of Ephesians. This will help you advance you from the stage of just saying, “Lord, bless so and so and help them to do such and such.”

3. Ask for others what you ask for yourself.

If you pray a certain verse or promise of Scripture for a person, you may want to put the reference by his or her name on your prayer list, and use this verse as you pray for that person the next time. Then use it in your thanksgiving when you see the Lord answer your prayers.

Ready to dive headfirst into serious intercession for others? The resources below will help you learn how to intercede effectively for others in prayer. You'll also learn about what to expect in the intercessory prayer journey. Hint: It’s not easy, but watching God work in answer to prayer is incredible!

Intercessory Prayer Resources

Pointers for Intercessory Prayer - Let's get practical about praying for others. How do we do it? What does it look like? What can we expect?

Principles of Intercessory Prayer - If God is already infinitely loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, why do we need to pray for others? Learn what the Bible says about why we intercede.

Prayer as Evangelism - Is prayer really a form of evangelism? Absolutely! In fact, it's the most important first step towards transformative evangelism.

How to Integrate Intercessory Prayer into Your Evangelistic Campaign - Intercessory prayer is vital to effective evangelism. These practical guidelines will show you to make prayer the foundation of your evangelistic campaign so that God can bless abundantly. 

Interceding Together - Great revivals can always be traced to the committed few who intercede for others. Learn how your church can learn to intercede together and become a house of prayer.

Intercessory Prayer Bookmarks - Print these out and share them with your congregation. Each bookmark contains encouragement for prayer, pointers on intercession and a place to record the names of five individuals to pray for.

Praying for the Prodigals - God loves His wayward children and He needs us to pray for them and seek to bring them home. This list of ideas for prayer and action will help you begin to pray effectively for those who are wandering.

Intercession, The Power of We - What happens when God's people begin to pray earnestly together? This PowerPoint presentation will help people begin to understand the incredible power of God that is released when His people begin to pray together. Includes a few speaker's notes. Created by Karen Martell. PDF Version. Also available in French (PowerPoint and PDF).